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Kota Damansara: Diamond In The Rough

Kota Damansara, located in the district of Petaling Jaya, Selangor is akin to a hidden gem, given its low profile away from the glare of the spotlight. Prior to its development, the town was a forest reserve for the Sungai Buloh catchment area spanning 857 acres before its development as a township in 1992 by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS). The 4,000-acre township, many would agree, is slowly but surely transforming into a mature area thriving with economic activities.

The township is derived from a secondary forest which was originally a defunct reserve gazetted in 1898 comprising 3,900 acres of protected primary forest. Being the oldest forest reserve in Peninsular Malaysia then, it was degazetted and subsequently, development of the area followed. The area has since then been downsized to accommodate an 857-acre plot.

Incidentally, a 1000-acre plot was also set aside for botanical garden cultivation. Out of that initiative, came the Kota Damansara Community Forest Reserve (KDCF) which is a gazetted park for recreation and research purposes. An interesting attraction here is Aunty Sipew’s Garden which displays traditional plants and wild herbs used by the Orang Asli Temuan tribe.

A SUBURBAN OASIS

Sandwiched between Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya, notable landmarks located near the state seat constituency include the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport (Subang Airport or Subang Skypark) and the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRI). Incidentally, Kota Damansara falls under the Subang parliamentary constituency.

PKNS for one, privatised and parcelled out tracts of land in Kota Damansara via joint ventures for development.

Positioned in a nexus between surrounding townships with differing levels of affluence, it is not surprising to find developers including Tropicana Corporation Berhad (“Tropicana”) launching their developments here in Kota Damansara.

The group’s Tropicana Gardens is an award-winning, mixed-use Transit-oriented Development (TOD) located in the heart of Kota Damansara. The 17-acre development features four residential towers and capitalises on greenery and sustainability.

In addition, the serviced residences situated within Tropicana Gardens are the epitome of luxury with over 30 recreational facilities spread over two levels; named the Recreational Promenade and the Sky Sanctuary.

Tropicana Gardens feature elements of modern spatial designs following an organic and nature-inspired feel. The development has been accorded with a Green Building Index (GBI) gold rating that is usually awarded to buildings that have added sustainability features.

Metroworld Realty Sdn Bhd Team Manager C.K. Lau acknowledges the potential of Kota Damansara.

“It is a vibrant, verdant, fast-growing and self-sustaining mature township within the Klang valley region,” he says.

Lau points out easy accessibility as being one of Kota Damansara’s key features, with the location being connected to excellent intercity highway systems serviced by public transportation.  

The township includes residential, commercial, educational and recreational components. With the completion of Kwasa Land’s developments and the mass rapid transit (MRT) project, Kota Damansara is envisioned to easily be the future home for entrepreneurial and economic activities in 10 years’ time.

NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE HEART OF THE TOWNSHIP

SCland Group Sales Manager Charles Leong says the company is currently developing Emporis, a mixed-use development project spanning 6.9 acres of commercial land fronting Persiaran Surian. The development comprises duplex suites, serviced residences and shop lot units. Incidentally, Emporis was specifically designed to differentiate itself with its offering of affordably-priced products to give value added propositions to buyers. The development is now priced from RM730,000 – RM790,000.

SCland aims to achieve Gold Status in its GreenRE certification for Emporis. GreenRE is a green rated certification which was initiated by REHDA Malaysia (Real Estate Housing Developers’ Association) for developers. The project also follows the Industrialised Building System (IBS) concept which utilises aluminium foam work in construction to achieve greater construction speed while resulting in lesser construction waste.

“Our past business space project called OMNI was completed in 2013. Its initial launch price of RM4.5 million has appreciated to RM7.5 million in the years since,” says Leong. The leasehold project comprise 15 units with built-up sizes ranging from 8,746 sq ft—13,642 sq ft.

Leong says that prices of units in mixed-use developments vary across different neighbourhoods. According to him, it is important to understand the intrinsic value attributed to different places. Units at Kota Damansara he says, can command prices around the range of RM800 psf – RM1,100 psf.

“Generally, Kota Damansara is a very sought-after address for people who want to either buy for own residence or investment purposes,” adds Leong.

AREA ANALYSIS

Nawawi Tie Leung Property Consultants Sdn Bhd has come up with an area analysis on average transacted price psf for selected residential areas, with a two-storey terrace unit in Seksyen 6, Kota Damansara commanding about RM529 psf in 2016 and RM502 psf in 2015, reflecting an appreciation value of 1.8%.

Meanwhile, the average transacted price for selected two-storey semi-detached units in areas like Seksyen 11 in Kota Damansara would command an average RM523 psf in 2016 as compared to RM592 psf in 2015, reflecting a depreciation value at (-6.8%). These prices reflect transactions for intermediate units, excluding corner or end lots. Terrace units are generally selling at approximately over RM500,000 per unit while semi-detached units are priced at approximately RM800,000 per unit. Overall, there is a declining trend in the average price in Seksyen 11.

Palm Spring, which is located in Seksyen 13, Kota Damansara, has selected apartments with transacted prices recorded at above RM420 psf in 2016 as compared to RM435 psf in 2015, recording an increase of 4.1% on average. At the D’Rimba project in Seksyen 13, Kota Damansara, the average transacted selling price is RM475 psf in year 2016 compared to RM442 psf in the year 2015.

The firm’s analysis chart shows that high-rise residential properties have shown significant capital appreciation due to strong demand for apartments and mid-range condominiums.

Therefore, silently and without much fanfare, Kota Damansara has quietly become a preferred residential location.         

This is due to its proximity to Mutiara Damansara. Its easy accessibility to various parts of Kota Damansara is made possible via various highways including the New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE), Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) and Penchala Link.

This concurs with the report which anticipates that condominiums located along MRT stations will continue to attract home buyers and investors.

ANALYSING COMMERCIAL OFFERINGS IN KOTA DAMANSARA

An analysis on commercial properties in Kota Damansara reveal that the average transacted prices of selected stratified offices in areas including Cova Square are commanding at least RM450.64 psf in 2016 as compared to RM435.83 psf in 2015.

Meanwhile, Taman Sains saw a decline in the prices of the units, recording a price transaction of RM440.42 psf in 2016 as compared to RM615.85 psf in 2015.

Hence, the average transacted pricing of selected shop offices at The Strand was RM518 psf in 2016 as compared to RM588 psf in 2015, recording a downward trend average of (-3.8%). Meanwhile, Seksyen 4 saw transactions of about RM419 psf in 2016 as compared to transactions at RM568 psf in 2015 in relation to the negative transaction of (-2.6%).

The firm’s analysis also shows the positive transacted prices of industrial properties located in Seksyen 3, especially those related to semi-detached factories. The transacted price in 2016 showed an average transaction price of RM558.26 psf which is lower than that in 2015 whereby units were transacted at RM618.69 psf.

Nawawi Tie Leung Chairman Dato’ Muhammad Nawawi Mohd Arshad says, “The most recently launched project in Kota Damansara is Emporis. It is a 6.9-acre integrated mixed development that includes retail, duplex suites, 616 units of serviced residences and a marketplace.”

He adds that the serviced residences were launched in 2016 at an average price of RM750 psf or approximately at RM590,000 per unit. The project is located between two MRT stations that is Kwasa Damansara and Persiaran Surian, which have strong potential for attracting homebuyers and investors alike.

The firm concludes that the retail space is quite challenging to sustain considering there are various shopping centres in close proximity to each other including IKEA, Ikano Power Centre, The Curve in Mutiara Damansara as well as another upcoming mall in the newly developed area of Kwasa Damansara. The site is located within Taman Industri Selangor.

Muhammad Nawawi says that Kota Damansara is a mature township with only several parcels of land left to be developed. Most of its developments are nearing completion while major developments for the township would border the developing township of Kwasa Damansara on the south and the northeast side.

“We expect the development of Kwasa Development to have positive spill-over effects on Kota Damansara especially with MRT Line 1 expected to be fully operational by end of this year,” he concludes.

Chester Properties Sdn Bhd Senior Negotiator Vincent Tan says, “From the negotiator’s point of view, Kota Damansara is always busy, no matter if it is day or night.”  

Kota Damansara’s road infrastructure system before the MRT line was operational he adds, was previously unable to support residents around the area. However, some changes occurred in the infrastructure which made the traffic flow smoother.

Although most of the properties available here are leasehold, he notes that people are still looking at Kota Damansara as a place to invest in or for their own stay.

“Even though it is reaching a mature township status, there are still no iconic shopping malls. Therefore, residents here need to travel out of the neighbourhood to enjoy such amenities,” he sums. 

EASILY ACCESSIBLE

For residents, visitors or office workers, transportation to the Kota Damansara township is easily available as the town is serviced by new MRT lines, major roads and highways.

The MRT lines to the township are served by two stations; namely the Kota Damansara MRT and Surian MRT stations. There are also feeder bus services leading to the township areas  and the neighbouring Kwasa Damansara township.

There are also feeder buses from the Kwasa Sentral MRT that goes directly to Section 6, 7 and 8 in Kota Damansara.  

Rapid KL Bus (780) and BET1 travel to Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur while Rapid KL Bus (802) connects to the Kelana Jaya light rail transit (LRT) station (KJ24) via the Damansara-Puchong Expressway (LDP) Federal Route 15, NKVE before heading to Mont’ Kiara in KL.

In addition, Kota Damansara is connected to major roads and highways such as Persiaran Surian, Persiaran Damansara Indah, Jalan Sungai Buloh, the NKVE and the LDP.

Tropicana’s project Tropicana Gardens boasts a direct link from the shopping mall to the Surian MRT Station which is now operational.

Leong says Kota Damansara MRT Station is located a mere 800 metres away from Emporis while the future Provisional Teknologi MRT Station is located adjacent to this commercial precinct. Emporis is also connected to the NKVE and LDP via the Kota Damansara Interchange and Persiaran Surian respectively.

Meanwhile, connectivity to KL and Shah Alam will be greatly enhanced upon the completion of Damansara–Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH) in 2020. Meanwhile, the DASH Interchange for Kota Damansara is located some 500m away from the development.

PPC International Sdn Bhd Managing Director Datuk Sr Sidsapesan Sittampalam comments, “The new underpass near Sunway Giza Mall at Persiaran Surian in Kota Damansara will help to alleviate the traffic along Persiaran Surian, especially during peak hours.”

He also explains that the LRT Line 3 will commence construction in July 2017 and is expected to be completed by 2020.

“This will allow Kota Damansara to be further connected to the south-east and south-west of the Klang Valley,” he concludes.

OVERVIEW ON THE TOWNSHIP

Siders also implies that within the next three years, Kota Damansara will see the completion of its other ongoing developments.

Future incoming developments hence will be minimal apart from its upcoming neighbouring township; which is Kwasa Damansara @ Sg. Buloh.  While details are still scarce, what is known is that the project will be located around Lot 7 and 9, spanning  a total of nine acres.

The mixed-development project by Paramount Properties is at its preliminary stages of planning. Currently only open for buyer’s registration, the development is expected to be launched within the next two years.

This improved connectivity might lead to more developers venturing into the locality with their respective developments – be they residential, commercial or industrial in nature. The locality is expected to benefit from this comprehensive integrated public transportation network.

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